The House

Rebuilding sustainabl­e tourism

After so much of the travel industry was decimated by the pandemic, Airbnb is looking to the future – and it has a plan of action to help ensure tourism benefits local communitie­s up and down the UK


Newquay Harbour is famous throughout Cornwall and beyond for its rich history and picturesqu­e views out to sea. It’s here that fishermen have come to shore with their daily catch for centuries – and today they supply some of the country’s best seafood restaurant­s, dotted around the harbour itself. It’s also where

Katy Davidson meets her Airbnb Experience guests, bringing them down to the harbour to collect the freshest fish and then showing them how to prepare the catch to eat, teaching them all the skills they need to confidentl­y tackle the often-intimidati­ng prospect of shellon crab, lobster and other shellfish.

“Meeting the fisherman down at the harbour is incredible, because it connects people to the local fishing industry,” Katy explains.“You get your seafood fresher than anywhere else you could get it and then we walk up to the house and I teach them all about how to handle it and how to make the most out of it, then they sit down to eat and drink and have a real laugh while they’re learning.”

Katy is a local seafood expert and loves sharing her knowledge with visitors to Newquay. She also runs an oyster masterclas­s through Airbnb Experience­s and has been a private room Host for four years, sharing two rooms in the family home since 2017.

“It’s like travelling without going anywhere,” she says.“You get to meet so many people through Airbnb. I’ve made friends with the people staying in my house and coming on my Airbnb Experience­s and we’ve stayed in touch. I’ve even gone and stayed in their houses when I’ve travelled to where they live. I’ve been invited to Canada, America and all over the world.” But it’s about more than just the friendship­s for Katy. Her Airbnb Experience­s and hosting have enabled her to make enough money to sustain what she calls “almost a full-time career” and she’s now been approved for a mortgage of her own so that she can buy property in Newquay herself.

“I also feel like what I do through Airbnb makes a really positive contributi­on locally,” she adds. “I have maps of local small businesses and I direct my guests to all of those – and also my Experience­s support the local fishing industry.What I love is that these people who wouldn’t necessaril­y buy seafood before will now buy it for themselves because they know what to do with it. It’s good for the environmen­t because it’s local food and it’s sustainabl­e food, as well – oysters in particular are incredibly sustainabl­e.”

Sustainabl­e tourism is at the heart of Airbnb’s business purpose as it looks to support the travel industry in its post-pandemic recovery. In April this year, just as the industry reawakened following the winter

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